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Nicole Kidman: The Others


Selections from Nicole Kidman's  filmography that demonstrate her extraordinary talent and risk-taking commitment.

Alejandro Amenábar's Gothic ghost tale The Others (2001) allows Nicole Kidman plenty of room to show off her expansive range as an actor, with each new choice she makes building ever so delicately, layer upon layer, into a performance that's truly transcendent.

As Grace Stewart, a mother of two children with a rare and dangerous sensitivity to light, Kidman positively crackles with anxious energy, even while maintaining a proper mid-century stoicism. The constant fear for her children's safety is expressed masterfully, whether it's through her eyes popping wide open with sudden concern or a quick spike in her voice to denote intense anxiety bursting forth.

The film's twist ending—which I will not spoil here, even though we're talking about a nearly two-decade old film—still packs a wallop today, thanks in no small part to Grace's devastation as she comes to the same conclusion as the audience. We feel the enormity of her realization because Kidman wills us to feel it right alongside Grace.


As Roger Ebert noted in his review upon the film's release, "...Alejandro Amenábar has the patience to create a languorous, dreamy atmosphere, and Nicole Kidman succeeds in convincing us that she is a normal person in a disturbing situation and not just a standard-issue horror movie hysteric." Amenábar suffuses the film with a stylish dreamlike quality that begins to feel more like a nightmare, especially as a tightly wound Grace begins to unravel from the haunting. Kidman is extraordinary. Her performance speaks to a mother's undying love for her children and how she'll do anything to keep them safe, even if it means borderline hysterical overreaction. The term "helicopter parenting" wasn't yet en vogue in 2001, but the metaphor certainly applies to Kidman's haunting performance as a mother seemingly living on the edge of sanity. Parenthood will do that to you, whether or not the ghosts are real or only imagined.

Comments

  1. Excellent write up, Mike. I loved this film. Nothing’s better than the plot twist at the end. The Gothic mood of it all is perfect, as well as Nicole’s performance.

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